This course is part of the Distance Learning Website of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI)


This foundational module "St Teresa of Avila" comprises sixteen units. Its aim is to introduce you to one of the most important saints in Carmel, a mystic and a doctor of the Church. By the end of the module you will:

  • have come to know this fascinating woman;

  • have been introduced to her major works;

  • have seen the 16th century Carmelite Reform from her perspective;

  • have seen her pedagogy and teaching on prayer;

  • have been invited to consider her relevance as a spiritual teacher today.


First recommendation:  Find something short

Start with something short in a dictionary of the saints, an encyclopaedia, a dictionary of spirituality, Butler’s Lives of the Saints (even an old edition), the entry in Wickipedia,  etc.  The CTS pamphlet by Jennifer Moorcroft, Teresa of Avila (London: CTS, 64pp. £1.95) is highly recommended.  

Second recommendation: Find a biography or general introduction

Some well known studies, not, however,  reliable in every detail, are: 

Auclair, G., Teresa of Avila: The Vivid Dramatic Life Story of a Great Woman, Organiser, Foundress, Mystic, Saint.  New York: Pantheon, 1953.

Bielecki, T., Teresa of Avila: An Introduction to her Life and Writings. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1994.

Du Doulay, S., Teresa of Avila. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991.

Lincoln, V., Teresa a Woman: A Biography of Teresa of Avila. New York: Albany, 1984.

Luti, J.M., Teresa of Avila: A Way. Collegeville: Liturgical Press—Glazier 1991.

Medwick, C., Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul. London: Duckworth, 1999.

Nevin, W.,  Teresa of Avila: The Woman. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1954.

O’Brien, K., Teresa of Avila. London: Parrish, 1951 frequently reprinted.

Obbard, R.,  La Madre: The Life and Spirituality of Teresa of Avila. Slough: St. Paul’s, 1994.

Papasologio, G., St. Teresa of Avila. New York: St. Paul, 1958, 1990.

Peers, E. A., Mother of Carmel London: SCM, 1945.

Walsh, W.T.,  St. Teresa of Avila: A Biography. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1943. 

For buying you can think of Carmelite Book Service, Boars Hill, Oxford, OX15HB which is friendly, efficient and offering competitive prices. 

Amazon can sometimes offer secondhand editions. Other specialist secondhand bookshops will sometimes have very high prices for out-of print books. 

This online course has been designed to introduce students to the writings of St Teresa of Avila. It covers such topics as:

  • Her life and times;
  • The Book of her Foundations;
  • Teresa and Prayer;
  • Way of Perfection;
  • Interior Castle;

Module Tutor: Christopher O'Donnell OCarm


The course is divided into 8 units, with 4 questionnaires, spread over the period of the module, and a final examination at the end.

Once posted, each unit will be available until the end of the module. The dates on which each of the units, and the other material for this module is available in the calendar in the Student Section.


Units 1 & 2

Units 3 & 4

Questionnaire 1

Units 5 & 6

Units 7 & 8

Questionnaire 2

Units 9 & 10

Units 11 & 12

Questionnaire 3

Units 13 & 14

Units 15 & 16

Questionnaire 4

Examination Questions

Please click HERE to access the STUDENT SECTION for module start and end dates

From the date corresponding to the relevant Monday (see main web page of, you can click on the relevant unit to access it. 

    Once you have successfully accessed and studied the material in each pair of units, please click on the relevant questionnaire to access it when it is launched. Read the questions and send your answers by email to the course administrator: [email protected]

One question must be chosen from the three final examination questions posted and the answer must be submitted by email on or before the date indicated to the administrator:

[email protected]



The author of the course holds the copyright to this material (text, graphic and other); distribution to family or friends, or publication (including on internet) of any part of the material is not permitted without the author’s explicit written permission.